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Poster: Monte B Cowboy Date: Dec 13, 2013 8:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: (Sort of) Non-dead Coup Upholders

Tobacco Firms’ Strategy Limits Poorer Nations’ Smoking Laws
- Published: December 13, 2013, The New York Times

More than five million people die annually of smoking-related causes, more than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, according to the World Health Organization.

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Yet big Tobacco companies are pushing back against a worldwide rise in anti-smoking laws, using a little-noticed legal strategy to delay or block regulation. The industry is warning countries that their tobacco laws violate an expanding web of trade and investment treaties, raising the prospect of costly, prolonged legal battles, health advocates and officials said.

Such treaties are intended to promote prosperity by reducing trade barriers and protecting investors from expropriation by foreign governments. They allow companies to sue directly, instead of having to persuade a state to take up their case. They have proliferated since the 1990s, and number around 3,000, up from a few hundred in the late 1980s, according to Robert Stumberg, a law professor at the Harrison Institute for Public Law at Georgetown University, whose clients include anti-smoking groups.

“The wolf is no longer in sheep’s clothing, and its teeth are bared,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the W.H.O. (world health organization). In a speech last year, Dr. Chan said that legal actions against Uruguay, Norway and Australia were “deliberately designed to instill fear” in countries trying to reduce smoking.

Tactics aimed at undermining anti-tobacco campaigns, and subverting the Framework Convention, are no longer covert or cloaked by an image of corporate social responsibility. They are out in the open and they are extremely aggressive.

The high-profile legal actions targeting Uruguay, Norway, Australia, and Turkey are deliberately designed to instil fear in countries wishing to introduce similarly tough tobacco control measures.

What the industry wants to see is a domino effect. When one country’s resolve falters under the pressure of costly, drawn-out litigation and threats of billion-dollar settlements, others with similar intentions are likely to topple as well.

Numerous other countries are being subjected to the same kind of aggressive scare tactics. It is hard for any country to bear the financial burden of this kind of litigation, but most especially so for small countries like Uruguay. This is not a sane, or reasonable, or rational situation in any sense. This is not a level playing field.

Big Tobacco can afford to hire the best lawyers and PR firms that money can buy. Big Money can speak louder than any moral, ethical, or public health argument, and can trample even the most damning scientific evidence. We have seen this happen before.

It is horrific to think that an industry known for its dirty tricks and dirty laundry could be allowed to trump what is clearly in the public’s best interest... read full story in the NY Times

Note: I googled about 10 or 15 different key-word searches looking for tobacco smoking cancer images. You will NOT find them easily. You will not easily find any image galleries of cancer victims due to smoking tobacco. Google Corporation has been paid off to make it all but impossible to find them. I had to use Bing (which I despise) to search and locate tobacco smoking cancer images.